Part 3 out of 3
not. So He does. Every life, even among those who never think of Him, is
full of such occurrences. Every individual gets some measure of supply
for his necessities, and in many instances a liberal one. God's sun
rises on the wicked as well as on the good, and His rain falls on those
who do right and those who do wrong.
At the same time there is a force generated by working consciously with
Him which we have to go without when we disregard Him. It is not, I
suppose, that He refuses to co-operate with us, but that it is out of
our power to co-operate with Him. If His is the only right way to our
success and prosperity, and we are, to any extent, taking the wrong, it
stands to reason that to that extent we must fail.
It is doubtless for this reason that our Lord emphasises seeking His
righteousness as well as His Kingdom. His Kingdom might be roughly
defined as His power; righteousness as the right way of doing anything.
But you never obtain power by going the wrong way to work; whereas by
working in the right way you get your result. The conclusion is obvious.
It is often objected to the point of view I have been trying to express
that so much weight is thrown on material blessing. God gives spiritual
rewards, it is contended, not material ones. To expect the material from
Him is to make Him gross, and to become gross ourselves.
And yet those who put forth this objection are doing their utmost to
secure material comforts, and to make material provision for the future.
Are they doing it independently of God? Are they working in a medium
into which God cannot enter? Is it argued for a single minute that
"goods" are not God's good things, and that money is not their token?
True, the love of money is the root of all evil. Of course--when you
separate money from God, as Caucasians mostly do; not when you take
money as one of the material symbols for God's love toward his sons.
As a matter of fact, we dig a gulf between the material and the
spiritual which does not exist. We have seen that modern physical
science is showing us how near to spirit matter comes, while it is
highly probable that further research will diminish even the slight
existing difference between them. Matter may really be considered as our
sensuous misreading of the spiritual. That is to say, God sees one
thing; our senses see another. In the wild lily cited by our Lord our
senses see a thing exquisite in form and colour; and yet, relatively
speaking, it is no more than a distortion of what God beholds and
delights in. It is a commonplace fact that, even within the limitations
of the senses, our sense-faculties perceive few things, if anything,
quite accurately. Matter may therefore be considered as our wrong view
of what God sees rightly. Both for Him and for us the object is there;
but it is there with higher qualities than we can appreciate or
The situation is not unknown among ourselves. A picture by a great
master hangs on a wall. Two men look at it--the one with an expert
knowledge of painting, the other with none. The untrained eye will
translate into daubs of colour and meaningless forms what the skilled
understanding will perceive as a masterly setting forth of beauty. So
the good things--the "goods"--with which God blesses us, as well as the
money which is their symbol, may be taken as having to God a meaning
which they do not possess for us, but not as being outside the sphere
of His interest and control.
It is the tendency to puts "goods" and money outside the sphere of His
interest and control which has impelled us--and perhaps the Caucasian
especially--to have one God for the spiritual and another for the
material. We try to serve God and Mammon to an extent far beyond
anything we are generally aware of. It is not merely the individual who
is doing it; it is part of our collective, social, and national life.
Our civilisation is more or less based on the principle.
It is a mistake to suppose that a formal belief in One Almighty,
All-knowing, All-loving God has, to the immense majority of us, ever
been more than an ideal. It is a mistake to suppose that because the
false god is no longer erected before us in silver or stone he is no
longer served. The world has never outgrown idolatry, the so-called
Christian world no more than any other. "Dear children," are the words
with which St. John closes one of his epistles, "guard yourselves from
idols." He at least did not think that the idol had been forsaken
because the use of his name was given up.
We may define as a god any force to which we ascribe a supreme and
controlling power in our lives. It is of little consequence whether or
not we give it name and personality, so long as that force rules us. So
long, too, as it wields a power which the One God does not, so long as
we make the false god greater than the true, and more influential.
This is no mere figure of speech; it is fact. We have never guarded
ourselves from idols. We have never done more toward recognising the
Father than the putting Him in the pantheon with our other gods. Even
though we have inscribed the whole pantheon with His name, the other
gods have been in it.
I have said that our whole collective life is based on the principle of
one God for the soul and another for the body; and so it is. In what we
call our temporal life God gets only a formal recognition, while Mammon
is the referee. Beyond the controlling power of money we have no vision,
and we see no laws. The sphere of material productivity being one in
which, according to our foregone conclusion, God does not operate, we
have to make the controlling power of money our only practical standard.
It has its laws--chiefly the laws of supply and demand--within whose
working we human beings are caught like flies in spider-webs. Though we
struggle, and know we are struggling, we take it for granted that there
is nothing to do but struggle, and struggle vainly. We take it for
granted that we are born into a vast industrial spider-web, whence there
is no possibility of getting out, and in which we can only churn our
spirits rebelliously. In proportion as God is a God of love, Mammon is a
god of torture; but such is our supineness of spiritual energy that we
go on serving Mammon.
But I am writing only for the individual. I am trying to suggest to him
that however much his race, his nation, his society, may serve Mammon,
he is free to renounce the idol and escape the idol's laws. Escaping the
idol's laws he comes within the realm of God's laws; and coming within
the realm of God's laws he reaches the region of plenty.
He may be the poorest and most ill-paid labourer; but God will recognise
his industry not in proportion to its technical skill, but according to
the spiritual excellence which goes into it. Technical skill depends
largely on the right man finding the right job; but as our world is
organised at present the right man, more often than not, is put into the
wrong job and has to do his best with it. God sees and estimates that
best; and as surely as He makes His sun to rise and His rain to fall
will give it its just compensation.
Our industrial questions are primarily spiritual. That is why they can
never be settled on a purely economic basis, and why every attempt to
settle them on a purely economic basis leads to conditions more confused
than those from which we have emerged. The so-called purely economic
basis is the basis where only Mammon's laws are considered, and God's
are held to be impractical.
Quite so! But even then the individual is free. Working with God he is
always master of the situation as it affects _him_.
The problem of Capital and Labour, for example, has, in one form or
another, been before the world for thousands of years. The more acute it
becomes the further we are from a solution, and were never so far from a
solution as we are to-day. Poverty, again, is the canker at the heart of
both Church and State, and has been so in every stage of our
civilisation. In 1921 it is no more under control than it was in the
days of Charlemagne or Attila or Xerxes. Charitable efforts to relieve
it have proved as effective as tickling with a feather to cure disease.
Or again, high prices and low wages, high wages creating high prices,
resented conditions leading to strikes, strikes bringing confusion to
both wages and prices alike--these things perplex the most clear-sighted
among us, compelling us to wonder as to what new troubles we are heaping
up. Or again, taxes crippling incomes and gnawing at the heart of
industry vex us each year with a sense of the futility of all man's
efforts for the common good, and the uselessness of our energies. These
difficulties, with many kindred ones, are the working of the laws of
Mammon. The case is simple. We shall never be free from the difficulties
till we are free from the laws. The bondservants of Mammon will go on
from misery to misery, till the will which opposes God is broken down.
There is no other way. The colossal disintegration of the world now
taking place before our eyes may be the beginning of this end.
But I return to the point I have emphasised already, the only point to
this book. The individual can act on his own account. He does not have
to wait till the race as a whole gives up the service of Mammon, or even
the nation to which he belongs. He can set _himself_ free, and enjoy the
benefits of freedom.
There must be many to whom, as to myself, the kingdom of heaven will
really be at hand when they are delivered from the snares and
entanglements of man's economic systems. Caught in those systems,
imprisoned in them, more hopelessly enmeshed the more they struggle to
save themselves, the suggestion that a change in point of view will take
us out of them will seem to some of us too amazing to be true.
Nothing will prove it true but a man's own experience. Mine will
convince nobody; no other man's can convince me. Demonstration must be
personal before we can make anything our own. But the fact remains, as
sure as the surest thing we know anything about, that the law of Mammon
does not work, while the law of God does work, and will work for anyone
who calls it to his aid.
No one who has ever seen the early morning trains into any great city
vomiting forth their hundreds of thousands of men and women, trudging
more or less dispiritedly to uncongenial jobs, can have felt anything
but pity for so many lives squeezed into the smallest possible
limitations. Admitting cheerfulness, admitting a measure of content, and
a larger measure of acceptance of what can't be helped, there still
remains over these hordes the shadow of a cloud from which they know
they never will escape. Clerks, factory hands, tradesmen, working men
and women of every stamp and occupation, they bow to the fact that they
will always work hard at tasks which are rarely their own choice, that
they will always work for little money, that they will always be denied
their desires for expansion; that as it was with their fathers and
mothers before them, so it will be with them, and so it will be with
their children after them.
With the supineness of our race most of them force themselves to be
satisfied with what comes. But here and there is a rebel. Here and there
is a man or a woman who feels that joyless work, and small pay, and
little or nothing to look forward to, are cruel elements in life, not
fair, not just, on the part of God or man. But what can they do? They
are in man's economic machine. The machine turns round and they turn
with it. They can do nothing else but turn with it. They see no prospect
except of turning with it till they die.
It is out of such men and women that our modern world breeds
revolutionists, that exalted and yet dangerous band who seek redress
from the laws of Mammon by appealing _to_ the laws of Mammon, so making
confusion worse confounded.
A revolution indeed is needed; but a revolution in point of view.
Political revolution, for the sake of righting governmental abuses,
has been known to produce beneficent results.
Material revolution, the attack of the poor on the rich to take away
their possessions, has never achieved anything. Many a time it has been
tried, and many a time it has failed. Being part of the system of Mammon
it could do nothing else than fail. The evils which Mammon has wrought
Mammon will never remedy. There may be instances in history of economic
cures for economic ills; but I think they are few. In general such cures
are of the nature of our "settlements" of strikes. They settle to-day
what is again unsettled to-morrow, leaving the work to be done all over
again, and so on into a far future.
The revolution in point of view has these great advantages:
First, it contains within it the seeds of success, since it is
revolution toward God, the owner of the Earth and the fulness thereof;
Next, it takes place within the individual himself, doing no one
else any harm;
Lastly, it does not run counter to man's economic laws; it only uses and
transcends them. It directs and corrects them. Working along their lines
it stimulates their fruit. Letting the inner man out of the economic
trap it sets him in a world in which first, and last, and before
everything else, he is God's servant in God's pay. God's pay being sure,
and paid in the way we need it, we no longer have money-fear to be
afraid of. Money-fear being set aside we can the more easily give
ourselves to the knowledge that "the Kingdom of God does not consist of
eating and drinking, but of right conduct, peace, and joy, through the
Holy Spirit; and whoever in this way devotedly serves Christ, God takes
pleasure in him, and men commend him highly."
 Epistle to the Romans.
And lest what I have said should seem fanciful or chimerical let me add
that I am not saying these things merely on my own responsibility. To
my certain knowledge there are hundreds of thousands--some millions--of
people throughout the world who at this very minute are living according
to this principle, and proving that it works in practical effect.
Neither am I speaking theoretically, as I have tried to make plain. To a
degree that convinces myself I have made the demonstration. Where my
life was like a dark and crooked lane in which I might easily be lost,
it has now become as an easy and open highway; where money-fear was the
very air I breathed, it is now no more than a nebulous shred on a far
horizon. Money-fear comes occasionally; but only as the memory of pain
to a wound which you know to be healed. It comes; but, like Satan out of
Heaven, I can cast it from me with a thought.
THE FALSE GOD OF FEAR AND THE FEAR OF DEATH
The fear of death was greatly diminished for me on grasping the
principle of everlasting Growth.
This principle we gather from whatever we know of life. Our observation
of life is, of course, limited to this planet; but as far as it goes it
shows us a persistent and perpetual system of development. We have only
to let our imaginations go back to the first feeble stirrings of life in
the ooze of the primeval seas, contrasting that with what it became in
Plato, Sophocles, St. Peter, St. Paul, Raphael, Shakespeare, and Darwin,
to see how high the climb upward has reached. Jesus of Nazareth I put on
a plane to which we have not yet attained, though in sight as the great
That the same law operates in the individual life is a matter of
everyone's experience. Such knowledge as each man has of himself is that
of a growing entity. Each year, each day, expands him a little further,
with increased fulness of character. At thirty he is more than he was at
twenty; at fifty more than he was at thirty; at eighty more than he was
at fifty. Nothing but a perverted mortal point of view stands in the way
of further expansion still.
The perverted mortal point of view is one of the impulses we have to
struggle with. The mortal tendency, which means the deadly tendency,
always seeks to kill whatever has the principle of life. This tendency
is in every one of us; but in some of us more than in others.
You can see it at work in the morbid mind, in the mind that is easily
depressed, and in the mind that easily closes.
Perhaps it is in this last that it becomes our most pernicious enemy.
The closing mind is found in all our ranks; the closed mind is the
deadwood of all our professions. It is not only deadwood; it is
death-in-life, the foe of the developing life-principle, the enemy of
the Holy Ghost.
That the dead mind should be found among people who have had few
intellectual advantages is not surprising. On them it is forced from
without, by sheer pressure of circumstance. Where it is most painful is
precisely where it does most harm, among the classes we call
professional. There, too, it seems commonest. Lawyers, doctors,
clergymen, teachers, writers, politicians, business men with dead minds
choke all the highways of life. To the extent that they have influence
they are obstacles to progress; but sooner or later the time comes when
they no longer have influence. Life shelves them on the plea that they
are old; but that is not the reason. They are shelved because they have
killed their minds, becoming living dead men.
As a matter of fact, one of the most valuable of our social and
national assets is the old man who has kept his mind open. Found all too
rarely, he is never shelved, for the reason that life cannot do without
him. Having the habit of expansion he continues to expand, keeping
abreast of youth and even a little in advance of it. The exception
rather than the rule, there is no reason why he should not be the
He is not the racial type because so many of us begin to die almost as
soon as we have begun to live. Our very fear of the death-principle
admits it into our consciousness. Admitted into our consciousness it
starts its work of killing us. It wrinkles the face, it turns the hair
grey, it enfeebles the limbs, it stupefies the brain. One of its most
deadly weapons is fatigue, or the simulation of fatigue. The tired
business man, who rules American life, is oftener than not a dead
business man. If he looked ahead he would see what we idiomatically know
as his "finish." He is not only dying but he infuses death into
manners, literature, and art, since he so largely sets the standard
which becomes the rule.
War on the death-principle should be, it seems to me, one of the aims to
which the individual gives his strength; and once more he can do it on
his own account.
In the first place, he can watch himself, that he does not mentally
begin to grow old. To begin mentally to grow old is to begin mentally to
die. He must think of himself as an expanding being, not as a
contracting one. He must keep in sympathetic touch with the new, damning
the know-it-all frame of mind. He must keep in sympathetic touch with
youth, knowing that youth is the next generation in advance. The secrets
of one generation are not those of another; but if he who possesses the
earlier masters also the later he is that much the richer and wiser. The
gulf which separates parents and children is one which the parents must
cross. They can work onward, while the children cannot work backward. Up
to a certain point the older teach the younger; beyond a certain point
the younger teach the older. He who would go on living and not begin to
die must be willing to be taught, reaping the harvest of both youth
In the second place, he who would live must not kill anyone else. The
deadly tendency in ourselves is forever at work on those about us,
chiefly on those we love. We watch, tabulate, and recount their symptoms
of decay. Making notes of them for ourselves we discourse of them to
others. "He begins to look old," is a commonplace. The response will
probably emphasise the fact. By response to response we spin round a
friend the age-web which lengthens into the death-web. In our expressive
American vernacular we speak of "wishing" conditions on others, an
instinctive folk-recognition of the force of mentality. We do it in a
sinister sense more often than by way of helpfulness. We "wish" by
thinking, by talking, by creating an atmosphere, by forcing things into
the general consciousness. Old age and decay, bad enough in themselves,
we intensify by our habits of mind. Death, which in any case awaits our
friends, we woo to them by anticipations of demise. It is not
ill-intentioned. It comes out of a subconsciousness in which death and
not life is the base.
For most of us the fear of death is a subconscious rather than an active
fear. It becomes active for those who through illness, or in some other
way, see a sentence of death hanging over them; but during the greater
part of the life-span we are able to beat it off.
As to the life-span itself there is reason to suppose that it is meant
to be more regular than man allows it to become. There may easily be an
"appointed time" to which we do not suffer ourselves, or each other, to
attain. Those strange, inequalities by which one human being is left to
pass over the century mark, another is cut off just when he is most
needed, while a third does no more than touch this plane for an hour or
two, may be the results of our misreadings of God's Will, and not the
decrees of that Will itself.
We are here on ground which may be termed that of speculation; and yet
speculation is not quite the right word. I dare to think that we have
reached a stage of our development at which we are entitled to make with
regard to death certain inferences which were hardly possible before our
time. We may make them timidly, with all hesitation and reserve, aware
that we cannot propound them as facts; and yet we may make them. The
human mind is no longer where it was a hundred years ago, still less
where it was five hundred years ago. Though we make little progress we
make some. We are not always marking time on the same spot of ignorance
and helplessness. What is mystery for one age is not of necessity
mystery for another. Even when mysteries remain, they do not of
necessity remain without some hint of a dawn which may broaden into day.
Many of our most precious illuminations have come in just this way; a
faint light--which slowly, feebly, through centuries perhaps, waxes
till it becomes a radiance.
I talked some time ago to an orthodox Christian lady whose brother had
recently died, and who was speaking of death.
"The one mystery," she called it, "on which no single ray of light has
been vouchsafed in all the ages man has been on earth."
I did not agree with her, but knowing her to be an orthodox Christian
lady I did not venture to express my opinion.
But hers is the position which many, perhaps most, of us take. "No one
has ever come back," we say, "to tell us what his experience has been,"
and we drop the subject there. Not only do we drop the subject there,
but we resent it if everyone else does not drop the subject there. "God
has hidden it from us," we declare, "and what He has hidden from us it
is presumption for us to pry into." It is useless to urge the fact that
this way of reasoning would have kept us still in the Stone Age; we are
not to be reached by argument.
Let me say at once that I am not taking up the question of the psychic,
or entering into it at all. I shall keep myself to the two points of
view which have helped me, as an individual, to overcome, to some
degree, the fear of death, considering them in reverse order from that
in which I have mentioned them. Those two points of view are:
A. That, according to God's Will, we come into this phase of being for
an "appointed time" which we do not always reach;
B. That we pass out of this phase of being as we came into it, for
A. The question of an appointed time seems important chiefly to the
right understanding of God's love. Between us and the understanding of
that love bereavement is often a great obstacle. Oftener still it is a
great puzzle. I do not have to catalogue the conditions in which the
taking away of men, women, and children, sorely needed here if for no
other purpose than to love, has moved us to deep perplexity, or to
something like a doubt of God. We have probably all known cases where
such tragedy has driven sufferers to renounce God altogether, and to
curse Him. Some of us who have been smitten may have come near to doing
this ourselves, or may have done it.
I have already spoken of the Caucasian's habit of shuffling off on God
those ills for which he will not face the responsibility himself, and I
am inclined to think that this is one of them. In my own experience the
explanation of "God's Will" made to the mother of a little family left
fatherless, or to the parents of a dead baby, or to a young man with a
young wife in her coffin, has always been revolting. I have made it; I
have tried, on the faith of others, to think it must be so. I have long
since ceased to think it, and feel happier for not crediting the
Universal Father with any such futile tricks.
I should not go so far as to say that we human beings have misapplied
the laws of life in such a way as to kill those who are dear to us;
rather, I think, we have never learned those laws except in their merest
rudiments. We are not yet prepared to do more than bungle the good
things offered us on earth, and more or less misuse them. We misuse them
ourselves; we teach others to misuse them; we create systems of which
the pressure is so terrible that under it the weak can do nothing but
die. We give them no chance. We squeeze the life out of them. And then
we say piously, "The blessed Will of God!"
As an illustration of what I mean let me cite the two following cases
among people I have known:
A young lady belonging to a family of means was found to be suffering
from incipient tuberculosis. The doctors ordered her to Saranac. To
Saranac she went, with two nurses. Within eighteen months she was home
again, quite restored to health. This was as it should have been.
At the same time I knew a car-conductor, married some six or seven
years, and the father of three children. He, too, was found to be
suffering from incipient tuberculosis. He, too, was ordered to Saranac.
But having a wife and three children to support, Saranac was out of the
question. He went on conducting his car till his cough became
distressing, whereupon he was "fired." A minimum allowance from his
church kept the family from starvation, while the nearest approach to
Saranac that could be contrived was an arrangement by which he slept
with his head out the window. In course of time he died, and his widow
was exhorted to submit to the Will of God.
I cite the latter case as typical of millions and millions of deaths of
the kind at which we stand aghast at God's extraordinary rulings. Why is
it, we ask, that He snatches away those who are needed, leaving those
who might be spared? As to the latter part of the question I have
nothing to say; but when it comes to "snatching away" I feel it
important to "absolve God" of the blame for it.
In the instance I have quoted the blame for it is clear. Falling on no
one individual, it does fall on an organisation of life which gives all
the chances to some, denying them to others. So long as we feel unable
to improve on this organisation we shall have these inequalities. But
let us face honestly the consequences they bring. Let us not confuse all
the issues of life and death as we do, by saddling the good and
beautiful Will of God with the ills we make for ourselves.
All untimely bereavement is, of course, not of the nature of the above
illustration. And yet I venture to believe that in all untimely
bereavement some similar explanation could be found. For example, in the
intervals of writing these lines I have been reading a recent biography
of Madame de Maintenon. In it is a chapter describing the series of
catastrophes which fell on Louis the Fourteenth, and the French kingdom,
within little more than a twelvemonth. His son and heir, his grandson,
the second heir, his great-grandson, the third heir, the second heir's
wife, and still another grandson were all carried off by smallpox. In
the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, his wife, the aged monarch was
counselled to submit to the awful Will of God which saw fit thus to
smite him. What no one perceived was that by crowding round the bed of
each sufferer in turn the survivors courted contagion.
But, there again, it is not much more than a century since this fact
became known to anyone. Easily within living memory is the discovery
that disease is due to bacteria. Our whole system of sanitation is of
recent development, and obtains only among the English and the Americans
even now. In many parts of Europe and America, to say nothing of Asia
and Africa, people still live as in the Middle Ages, and infant
mortality is appalling. Those of us who pay most attention to sanitary
laws live unhealthily, diminishing our powers to resist attack. I
mention these facts, not as making a list of them, but to indicate the
many causes through which we bring bereavement on ourselves, when the
Will of God would naturally make for survival and happiness.
It must never be forgotten that in this phase of our existence we never
carry out that Will except to a remote degree. We only struggle towards
doing it. When great sorrows come it is because in the struggle we have
not been successful. Either we ourselves have failed; or the failure of
others affects us indirectly. While God's Will may be for our happiness,
we can attain to neither the happiness nor the Will--as yet.
Nevertheless, we would not have it otherwise. In our more thoughtless or
more agonised minutes we are likely to cry out for a life in which the
conditions ensuring our happiness could not so easily miscarry; but that
would mean a static life, and a static life, above all things, we will
not endure. As already seen, we ask for difficulties to conquer,
successes to achieve. To contend is our instinct, not to be passive
Difficulties to conquer can only exist side by side with the possibility
of not conquering them. The victory which is merely a walk-over is
scarcely a victory. Achievement counts only when something has been
overcome. Even then the overcoming of one thing merely spurs us on to
overcome another. To rest on our laurels is doom. For a race which has
the infinite as its goal the word must be on and on. The static heaven
of bearing palms and playing harps and bliss, which the na´ve
interpretation of our fathers drew from the imagery of the Apocalypse,
has long since made us rebellious. Something to strive for we demand,
even at the risk of bereavement.
It is at once the disadvantage and the glory of our own generation that
it is only on the fourth or fifth step of the stairway by which we are
climbing. But at least it is heir to the conquests which go to its stage
of advance. Untimely bereavement is less common to-day than it was a
few centuries ago; it is more common to-day than it will be a few
centuries hence. Such storms of affliction as in 1712 swept over the
house of Louis Quatorze occur less frequently now. But they still occur.
We have not got beyond them. They are only bound to occur less and less
frequently, till they become no more than matters of scarcely
In the meanwhile it may be a comfort to others, as it is to me, to be
able to "absolve God" from the charge of capricious and intolerable
thwarting of our love. To me, at least, the blow is easier to bear when
I know that His beloved hand didn't strike it. I cannot understand being
tortured out of sheer love, while patience with what leaves me with my
whole life maimed is only the patience of the vanquished.
On the other hand, I can bear with my mistakes, I can bear with the
mistakes of others, I can bear with the failures which are the fruit of
our lack of race-development, so long as I know that God is on my side.
The affliction which would be too poignant as coming directly from Him
is half soothed already when I know that He is soothing it. I may have
lost what He gave; but far from snatching it from me He would have had
me keep it. Of all my comforts that assurance is the first.
In addition, I have the satisfaction--a meagre satisfaction you may call
it, but a satisfaction all the same--of knowing that by the ploughing
and harrowing of my heart a step is taken toward that future in which
hearts shall be less harrowed and ploughed. "It must never happen
again." That is what we keep saying with regard to the Great War. Well,
it may happen again. We have as yet no trustworthy pledge to the
contrary. But of this we may be sure, that it will not happen again very
often. It is less likely to happen again for the very reason that it has
happened. If the Great War does not prove to be the last war it is the
more probable that the next war will. I mean that we do learn our
lessons, though we learn them only as feeble-minded children learn
theirs. Agony by agony, something is gained, and my personal agony
counts with the rest. The fact may give me no more than the faintest
consolation, and possibly none at all; and still in the long, slow
stages of our upward climb my agony counts, whether its counting
consoles me or not.
The inference that we come into the life of this planet for an
"appointed time" we draw from what we see of God's system of order. All
other things do so, as far as we observe. The plant springs, to grow and
bloom, to bear fruit and seed, and so renew itself. Fish, bird, and
animal have their appointed round varying only in detail from that of
the plant. Man's appointed round would seem to vary only in detail from
that of the animal, except that he himself interferes with it.
To the best of my knowledge the plant, from the blade of grass to the
oak or the orchid, always fulfils its life-span, unless some act or
accident cripples or destroys it. I mean that we never see God bringing
the shoot above the soil just to nip it before it unfolds. We never see
Him bring the bud to the eve of blossoming just to wither it. Having
given it its mission He supplies it with rain, sun, and sustenance to
bring that mission to its end. True, the plant has enemies, like
everything else, enemies which it may not escape. But generally
speaking, it does escape them, and lives to finish its task.
So, too, with the more active living thing. It, too, has its enemies.
It, too, may not escape them. But assuming that it does, God allows it,
to the best of our observation, to work out its full development. The
only "bereavement" he brings to the lion, the thrush, or the elephant,
or any other creature capable of grief is, apparently, from those
hostile sources of which the hostility is more or less gratuitous. A man
shoots a lion, or the lion kills an antelope; but they do so through
misreading of God's Will, not through fulfilling it.
For the lower ranks of creation misread that Will in their way as much
as the higher in theirs. All ferocity must be misinterpretation of the
divine law of harmony and mutual help. Internecine destruction probably
has a meaning we can only guess at. Guessing at it we are at liberty to
surmise that what God sees as loving contention for excellence, each
gaining by the other's gain, we understand as bitter strife, and
consumption of the flesh and blood. The rivalry we can best appreciate
is that of brutality; the chief benefit the stronger creature seeks from
the weaker is in killing and eating him. Why this should be part of our
struggle I do not know; but part of our struggle it seems to be--from
the humblest organism up to man--the mistaking of God's Will before
learning to understand it.
And lest I should seem to assume too much, in saying this, let me add
that our progress out of this state of preying on each other has long
been foreseen by the pioneers of truth. The vision is at least as
ancient as Isaiah, when he descried from afar the accomplished rule of
the Son of David:
"With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity
for the meek of the earth.... And righteousness shall be the girdle of
his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and
the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child
shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones
shall lie down together.... And the sucking child shall play on the hole
of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; _for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord_, as the waters cover
If I am correct in thinking that our passage across the life of this
planet is meant to last for an "appointed time," I presume that that
time would be measured by experience rather than by years. There exists
what we vaguely call the round of life. We are born; we grow; we know
family interests; we learn; we work; we love; we marry; we beget
children; we train them to take our places; we pass beyond. There are
variations on this routine, some of us having more, some of us having
less; but in general it may be taken as typical. It is our mission, as
the plants and the lower living things have theirs.
It seems reasonable, then, to think that each baby born is meant by the
Father's Will to reap this experience before it proceeds to further
experience. It must be a stage in its growth or it would not come into
it. When it is balked of it something is amiss. The child who dies in
infancy has lost something. The lad or the girl whom our organised life
drives from this plane before reaching fruition has lost something. The
parent whom our conditions force onward before he has brought his task
to a stage at which he can peacefully lay it down has lost something. I
am not saying that God does not control resources by which that loss can
be abundantly made up, but only that the loss would seem to be there.
It is loss for the one who departs as well as for those who
That is what I gather from the instances in the Old and New Testament in
which those who had gone on before their time were called back again.
There are six of these instances in all: one in the Old Testament, and
five in the New. Of four of them we are expressly told that those
restored were young; of the other two nothing is said as to age, but one
at least was probably young, while the other was greatly needed.
The child called back by Elisha was still a little boy. The daughter of
Jairus was still a little girl. The son of the widow of Nain was a young
man, as was also Eutychus raised by St. Paul. Though we are not told the
age of Lazarus we judge that he was at most no more than in man's
maturity. Dorcas of Lydda may have been of any age, but, judging by the
circumstances, she had not completed her task.
My point is this, that if these things happened, they seem to bear out
my suggestion that our own inducement of premature death cuts us off
from fulfilling our appointed time and getting our appointed experience.
Only on some such ground can we believe that any would be permitted
Should this be so we would be in a position to assume that all who go
over ahead of time would be allowed to come back, if we had sufficient
spiritual power to recall them. But that power is of the rarest. Our
Lord, apparently, was in control of it only at times, and on at least
one occasion, that of the raising of Lazarus, its exercise was not what
we should call easy. But that He believed it to be at human command to
some extent is clear from the fact that its use became one of His four
basic principles. "Raise the dead," was the second of the commands with
which He sent out his first seventy disciples.
I dwell on the subject only because of its bearing on the love of God.
If it becomes plain to us that by the understanding of God's Will we
gain a richer experience, with less fear of being cut off before our
work is done, that Will makes a stronger appeal for being understood.
That we have not understood it earlier, that we have not particularly
cared to understand it, is due, I think, to our assumption of its
capriciousness. It has been so underscored as inscrutable--the word
generally applied to it--that the man in the street has felt mystified
by it from the start. Being mystified he has settled down to think as
little about it as he could.
But a great force striving with man to put common sense into his methods
is worth comprehending. It does not compel us to common-sense methods
for the reason that we value only that which we work out for ourselves.
We work nothing out but through suffering. We learn nothing, we take no
forward step, except as we are whipped to it by anguish. That is why
there is so much mourning in the world. God does not cause it; we bring
it on ourselves; but each time we bring it on ourselves we creep one
tiny step nearer that race-conclusion which is now coming to us about
war, and will one day come to us about death, that "It must never
In other words, death will be abolished by race-unanimity not to submit
to it. We shall have travelled far in this direction when the average
mind begins to perceive that God did not send death into His creation,
but that we ourselves developed it. Having developed it ourselves we
must get rid of it ourselves, and already some of that work has been
done. "For seeing that death came through man," are the words of St.
Paul, "through man comes also the resurrection of the dead." When he
speaks of "Jesus Christ who hath abolished death," his words are
stronger still. "He has put an end to death and has brought Life and
Immortality to light by the Good News, of which I have been appointed a
preacher, apostle, and teacher."
This Life and Immortality are not to be relegated to other ages and
worlds; they are for us to work out now.
The degree to which we work them out depends on our own efforts. Death
will be our doom for many generations to come, because so few of us have
the energy to strive against it. Release can come only when the race at
large is willing to cast the evil thing off. One would suppose that we
would be willing now; but we are far from being willing. We shall go on
forcing our dear ones to die before their time, falling sick ourselves,
enduring agonies, and rotting in graves, till we have suffered to the
point at which we cry out that we have had enough. There will be a day
when in presence of the useless thing we shall say, with something
amounting to one accord, "It must stop." That day will be the beginning
of the end of the age-long curse to which we still submit ourselves. In
the language of St. Paul, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death,"
leaving us with the belief that, when we have progressed to the
overthrow of other forces opposed to us, we shall go on to the overthrow
of this one--and that it will be overthrown.
From one kind of fear this reasoning has almost entirely delivered
me--that of being taken away in the midst of my responsibilities, and
before my work is done. I am not so audacious as to say that it may not
happen; but only that, reasoning as I do, I am no longer a prey to
apprehensions on the point. They used to come to me, not like the
money-fear, an abiding visitant, but in spells of intense dread.
I suppose that most men with families, and much unfinished business,
know this dread, and have suffered from it. You think of the home you
have built up, and of what it would be without you. You think of your
wife, grappling with a kind of difficulty to which she is unaccustomed.
You think of your children who turn to you as their central point, and
who would be left without your guidance. You think of other duties you
have undertaken, and wonder who will carry them through. You seem to be
so essential to everyone and everything; and yet, you have been told, it
may be the Will of God to remove you from them, and either let your
plans collapse, or put their execution on the shoulders of someone else.
I am not so presumptuous as to say that for me this may not happen. I
only say that I do not think it will. I do not think so because,
according to my judgment, He having helped me to go as far as I have
gone, will help me to finish my task before giving me another one.
My task, I think, He must estimate as I do. That is, my duties to others
being not wholly of my choosing, but having come to me according to what
I may call His weighing and measuring, I take them to be the duties He
would have me perform. If so, He would naturally have me perform them
till I come to the place where I can reasonably lay them down.
Therefore, I dismiss the fear of untimely separation from my appointed
work. Such a separation may come; but if it does, it will probably come
by some such means as I have briefly tried to sketch; my own mistakes;
the mistakes of others; the effect of race-pressure. In any case, my
personal resistance, it seems to me, is made the stouter by feeling that
my tasks are His tasks, and so that so long as I am needful to their
accomplishment, I remain. If I go, it will be because He has the
succession of events so planned as to reduce collapse, failure, or
suffering to a minimum.
B. The thought that the minute after death will only be another little
step in Growth, to be followed by another and then another, as we are
used to growing here, greatly diminishes one's shrinking at the change.
It is entirely a modern thought. The past, even of a few centuries ago,
never entertained it. It is doubtful if it was mentally prepared to
entertain it, or evolve the idea.
This is not to depreciate our fathers' mental powers. Different
generations have different gifts. One age works along one line, another
along another. The past had a certain revelation of truth; but the
revelation of truth did not end with the past. Our ancestors received as
much as they could take. What, it seems, they were unable to take was
anything which made death less horrible. We may say, in fact, that they
didn't want it. They liked having death made horrible. Many people like
it still. The mitigation of that horror they condemn, resent, and often
ascribe to the devil.
And yet there is a tendency to see light through this gloom, and to seek
views of death more in the line of common sense than those which have
come down to us. It is not a strong tendency, but it exists. It exists
in the face of opposition on the part of those religious conservatives
who think conservatism and orthodoxy the same thing; and it runs the
gauntlet of the sneers and jeers of the materially minded who make
common cause with the old guard of the churches; but it exists. It
exists, and goes forward, becoming a factor in the thought-life of
It is not yet two hundred years since the plea was put forth on behalf
of mankind that, in the administration of divine justice, no one suffers
less than he deserves, but also that no one suffers more.
The hostility to this seemingly harmless teaching was of the most
intense. There is hostility to it still, but mild as compared with that
felt by our great-great-grandfathers. That no one should suffer less
than he deserves went without saying; but that no one should suffer more
was declared a black heresy. As there are those who declare it a black
heresy to-day, it may be worth while, in the interests of the conquest
of fear, to say a word as to the relation of God and punishment.
To my mind it is chiefly verbal.
It is permissible to say that there is no such thing as punishment;
there are only wrong results. It depends upon your way of putting it.
The wrong method produces wrong results in proportion as it is wrong.
Wrong results mean wrong conditions; and wrong conditions mean
suffering. You may call this the law of God, but it is the law of
anything. It is not positive law, it is negative. As a matter of fact,
God does not need to put forth a law on the point since everything
works that way.
What we call sin is simply a wrong method. It may be a wrong method
meant to produce wrong; or it may be a wrong method in the hope of
producing right. In any case it brings its consequence in pain.
That consequence may be corrected in this phase of our being, or it may
be carried over into the next. Carried over into the next the
individual, according to our ancestral teaching, comes under the
sentence in which our fathers delighted as "damnation." Not only did
damnation involve the most fiendish torture the Almighty could invent,
but the torture was inflicted, without an instant of relief, throughout
the eons of eternity.
I recall a sermon to which I listened as a boy of nine. It was on a
summer's evening, when the windows of the church were open. A moth
fluttered about a light. The church stood at the foot of a mountain. The
preacher was trying to explain to us the eternal duration of God's
punishment. "Think of that moth," he said, "carrying away one grain of
sand from that mountain, and going off for a million years, after which
it would return and take away another grain. And think of it keeping
this up, one grain every million years, till the whole mountain was
removed. Well, that would be only a moment as compared with the time you
would be in hell."
On the generations comforted and fortified by this sort of teaching I
have no comment to make; but we of another generation should surely not
be reproved for moving away from it. We move away from it in the
direction of common sense, since common sense must be an attribute of
the Universal Father as it is of the wiser among mankind.
I revert, then, to my statement that God's relation to punishment is
chiefly verbal. His "wrath against sin" is a way of "putting it." If you
can best express the suffering which springs from wrong methods as
"God's wrath" you are at liberty so to express yourself; but we should
not lose sight of the fact that the wrong methods produce the suffering,
and not an outburst of fury on the part of One who is put before us
The fact that the Hebrew writers often used a vivid form of warning and
invective is not a reason why we should keep on doing it. The Hebrew
writer was a primitive speaking to primitives. Meaning what we mean, he
required a stronger, fiercer vocabulary than we ever need. In saying
this I am not dodging the issue; I am stating a fact which rules in all
historical interpretation. To make the phraseology of two thousand years
before Christ the literal expression of the thought of two thousand
years after Him is to be archaic beyond reason. Having grasped a
principle, we phrase it in the language of our time.
The language of our time makes, on the whole, for restraint, sobriety,
and exactitude of statement. Few of our habits modify themselves more
constantly and more rapidly than our forms of speech. Not only does each
generation find something special to itself, but each year and each
season. To me it seems that much of our misunderstanding of God springs
from the effort to fix on Him forevermore the peculiarities we infer
from the idiom of five thousand years ago. Only to a degree does that
idiom convey to us what is conveyed to those who heard it as a living
tongue; and of that degree much is lost when it percolates through
translation. To cling to words when all we need is to know principles,
clothing them in our own way, seems to me not only absurd in fact but
lamentable in result. I venture to think that more people have been
alienated from God by a pious but misapplied verbal use than were ever
estranged from Him by sin.
Our ancient Hebrew predecessors understood God in their own way. We
understand Him in the same way, but with the clarification wrought by
the intervening years of progress. In other words, they bequeath us a
treasure which we are free to enrich with our own discoveries.
Among our own discoveries is a clearer comprehension of pain as
resulting from wrong methods, and of God's detachment from pain. More
and more, punishment becomes a concept we reject. Even in our penal
institutions, which have been for so many centuries a barbarous token of
our incompetence, we begin to substitute for punishment something more
nearly akin to cure. If we find mere vengeance unworthy of ourselves we
must find it unworthy of the Universal Father. If we concede to the
criminal the right to a further chance we concede it to ourselves. If we
recognise the fact that the sinner on earth may redeem himself, working
from error towards righteousness, the same principle should rule in the
whole range of existence. There is nothing about the earth-life to make
it the only phase of effort and probation. Effort and probation are
probably conditions of eternity. They will be in our next experience as
they have been in this, leading us on from strength to strength.
One main difference between the mind of the past and the modern mind is
that the mind of the past tended to be static, while the mind of to-day
is more and more attuned to a dynamic universe. Civilisation before the
nineteenth century was accustomed to long periods with relatively little
change. Most people spent their entire lives in the same town or the
same countryside. In the class in which they were born they lived and
died, with little thought of getting out of it. This being so they
looked for the same static conditions after death as they saw before it.
A changeless heaven appalled them with no sense of monotony, nor did a
changeless hell do anything to shake their nerves. Their nerves were not
easily shaken. They were a phlegmatic race, placid, unimaginative,
Because we of to-day are more restless it does not follow that our views
should be truer. We only know they are truer because we are so much
nearer the truth than they had the opportunity to come. We prove that we
are nearer the truth by our greater command of the Father's resources.
If our whole horizon of truth were not broadened, we could not possess
Changing our static conception of life to that of a dynamic will to
unfold, we see the climax we commonly call death as only a new step in
unfoldment. Whatever I have been, the step must be one in advance. It
would not be in accord with creative energy that I should go backward.
The advance may entail suffering, since it is probable that it will give
me a heightened perception of the wrong in my methods; but there are
conditions in which suffering signifies advance.
And yet if I suffer it can only be with what I may call a curative
suffering. It will be suffering that comes from the recognition of
mistake; not the hopeless anguish of the damned. Having learned "how not
to do it," I perceive "how to do it"--and go on.
But the perception of "how to do it" is precisely what most of us have
been acquiring. I venture to think that few of us will come face to face
with death without being more or less prepared for it. Life is so
organised that, at its worst, all but the rare exceptions make progress
daily, through obedience to the laws of righteousness.
In saying this we must count as righteousness not merely the carrying
out of a rule of thumb laid down by man's so-called morality, or the
technical regulations prescribed by the churches for the use of their
adherents; we must include every response to every high call. We must
remember that all a man does in the way of effort to be a good son, a
good brother, a good husband, a good father, a good workman, a good
citizen, is of the nature of slowly creeping forward. Above every other
form of training of the self this endeavour determines a man's spiritual
standing, and his state of worthiness. He may know some failure in each
of these details; and yet the fact that in the main he is set--as I am
convinced the great majority are set--toward fulfilling his
responsibilities helps him to be ready when the time comes to put the
The great common sense of the nations brought us to this perception
during the years when the young men of the world were going down like
wheat before the reaping machine. For the most part, doubtless, they
were young men in whom the ladies who attend our churches would have
seen much to reprimand. The moral customs of their countries were
possibly held by them lightly. The two points which constitute pretty
nearly all of American morality they may have disregarded. And yet we
felt that their answer to the summons, which to them at least was a
summons to sacrifice, showed them as men who had largely worked out
their redemption. Whatever our traditions, we were sure that those who
were ready to do anything so great could go to the Father without fear.
But war calls for no more than a summing up and distillation of the
qualities we cultivate in peace. These men were ready because homes,
offices, banks, shops, factories, and farms had trained them to be
ready. So they are training all of us. Traditions help; the churches
help; but when it comes to the directing of the life toward
righteousness--the effort to do everything rightly--no one thing has
Going to the Father without fear! All the joy of life seems to me to
hang on that little phrase. I used it just now of the young men who
passed over from the battlefield; but I used it there with limitations.
Going to the Father without fear is a privilege for every minute of the
day. More and more knowledge of the Father is the progress for which we
crave, since more knowledge of the Father means a fuller view of all
that makes up the spiritual universe. Into that knowledge we are
advancing every hour we live; into that knowledge we shall still be
advancing at the hour when we die. The Father will still be showing us
something new; the something new will still be showing us the Father.
It will be something new, as we can receive it. He who can receive
little will be given little; he who can receive much will be given much.
In growth all is adjusted to capacity; it is not meant to shock, force,
or frighten. The next step in growth being always an easy step, I can
feel sure of moving onwards easily--"from strength to strength," in the
words of one of the Songs for the Sons of Korah, "until unto the God of
gods appeareth everyone of them in Zion."
 The Book of Psalms.
THE FEAR OF DEATH AND ABUNDANCE OF LIFE
After all, the conquest of fear is largely a question of vitality. Those
who have most life are most fearless. The main question is as to the
source from which an increase of life is to be obtained.
An important psychological truth was involved when our Lord made the
declaration, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly." This, I think, was the first plain statement
ever made that life was a quantitative energy; that it is less or more
dynamic according to the measure in which the individual seizes it. But
once more the Caucasian has stultified the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth
by evaporating it to the tenuous wisp which he understands as
spiritual. Between the pale ghost of such spiritual life as he has
evoked from the Saviour's words and manly and womanly vigour in
full-blooded exercise he has seen no connection.
Few of us do see a connection between strength of spirit and strength of
limb; but it is there. I am not saying that a strong spirit cannot
coexist with a feeble frame; but the feeble frame is a mistake. It is
the result of apprehension and misapprehension, and bred of race-fear.
The strong spirit would have put forth a strong frame if we had given it
a chance. Abundant life must be _life_, healthy, active, and radiant. It
should show the life-principle no longer driven from sea to land, and
from land to air, or battling with a million foes, but vigorous and
This vigour and triumph we ought to work into our point of view, so
kneading it into our subconsciousness. Strong in proportion as our
subconsciousness is strong, fearless in proportion as our
subconsciousness is fearless, the going from strength to strength
becomes a matter of course to us. Urging us on in sheer joy of power,
abundance of life becomes still more abundant through the indwelling of
the life-principle. That mystic resistless force, which has fashioned
already so many forms, is forever at work fashioning a higher type
Each one of us is that higher type of man potentially. Though we can
forge but little ahead of our time and generation, it is much to know
that the Holy Ghost of Life is our animating breath, pushing us on to
the overcoming of all obstacles. For me as an individual it is a support
to feel that the principle which was never yet defeated is my principle,
and that whatever the task of to-day or to-morrow I have the ability to
perform it well. The hesitation that may seize me, or the questioning
which for an instant may shake my faith, is but a reminder that the
life-principle is not only with me, but more abundantly with me in
proportion to my need. My need is its call. The spasm of fear which
crosses my heart summons it to my aid. It not only never deserts me, but
it never delays, and is never at a loss for some new ingenuity to meet
new requirements. "From strength to strength" is its law, carrying me on
with the impetus of its own mounting toward God.
And the impetus of its own mounting toward God is not confined to what
we view as the great things of life. Between great and small it makes no
distinction. It is as eager on behalf of the man behind a counter as on
that of him who is governing a country. The woman who has on her
shoulders the social duties of an embassy, or the financial cares of a
great business, has it no more at her command than she who is nursing
her baby or reckoning her pennies to make both ends meet. It rushes to
the help of all. Wherever there is duty or responsibility it is begging
at the doors of our hearts to be let in, to share the work and ease
As I get up each morning, it is there. As I plan my day while I dress
myself, it is there. As I think with misgiving of some letter I tremble
at receiving, or with distaste at some job I must tackle before night,
it is there.
It is there, not only with its help, but with its absolute knowledge of
the right way for me to act. The care that worries me may be so big as
to involve millions of other people's money, or it may be as small as
the typing of a letter; but the right way of fulfilling either task is
pleading to be allowed to enter my intelligence. My task is its task. My
success will be its success. My failure will react on it, since failure
sets back by that degree the whole procession of the ages. Whether I am
painting a great masterpiece or sewing on a button my success is
essential to the Holy Ghost of Life.
So I, the individual, try to confront each day with the knowledge that I
am infused with a guiding, animating principle which will not let me
drop behind, or lose my modest reward, so long as I trust to the force
which carries me along. By trusting to it I mean resting on it quietly,
without worrying, without being afraid that it will fail me. "Fret not
thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil." By doing evil, I
presume is meant making a mistake, taking the wrong course. If, however
great the cause, I fret myself I disturb the right conditions. By
disturbing the right conditions I choke off the flow of the
life-principle through my energies.
 The Book of Psalms.
At a moment when the little buffer state between Egypt and Assyria was
afraid of being overrun by the one or the other it was frantically
casting about to decide with which it would throw in its lot. "With
neither," a great prophet thundered in the ears of the people. "In
calmly resting your safety lieth; in quiet trust shall be your
 The Book of Isaiah.
My small experience in the conquest of fear can be condensed into these
four words: Calmly resting! quiet trust! That amid the turmoil of the
time and the feverishness of our days it is always easy I do not
pretend. Still less do I pretend that I accomplish it. I have said, a
few lines above, that _I tried_. Trying is as far as I have gone; but
even trying is productive of wonderful results.
Least of all do I claim to have covered the whole ground, or to have
discussed to its fulness any one of the points which I have raised.
Whole regions of thought which bear on my subject--such as psychology,
philosophy, and religion as I understand the word--I have carefully
endeavoured to avoid. My object has been to keep as closely as possible
to the line of personal experience, which has a value only because it is
personal. Telling no more than what one man has endeavoured to work out,
what I have written seeks no converts. Though, for the sake of brevity,
it may at times seem to take a hortatory tone, it is a record and no
more. In it the reader will doubtless find much to correct, and
possibly to reject; and this must be as it happens. What I hope he will
neither correct nor reject is the sincerity of the longing to find God's
relations to the phenomena of life, and the extent to which the
phenomena of life reflect God.
In the end we come back to that, the eternal struggle whereby that which
is unlike God becomes more and more like Him. In watching the process,
and taking part in it, there is, when all is said and done, a sense of
glorious striving and success. With each generation some veil which hid
the Creator from the creature is torn forever aside. God, who is always
here, is seen a little more clearly by each generation as being; here.
God, who ever since His sun first rose and His rain first fell has been
making Himself known to us, is by each generation a little better
understood. God, whom we have tried to lock up in churches or banish to
Sundays and special holy days, is breaking through all our
prohibitions, growing more and more a force in our homes and our
schools, in our shops and our factories, in our offices and our banks,
in our embassies, congresses, parliaments, and seats of government. Into
His light we advance slowly, unwillingly, driven by our pain; but
The further we advance the more we perceive of power. The more we
perceive of power the more we are freed from fear. The more we are freed
from fear the more exultantly we feel our abundance of life. The more
exultantly we feel our abundance of life the more we reject death in any
of its forms. And the more we reject death in any of its forms the more
we reflect that Holy Ghost of Life which urges us on from conquest to
conquest, from strength to strength, to the fulfilling of ourselves.